St. Vincent's Special Needs Services announces that it has hired Dr. Debra Rausch as the new Director of Autism Services. Dr. Rausch will be responsible for overseeing the expansion of services in the current school program for children with multiple developmental disabilities to include children with autism spectrum disorders.

Raymond G. Baldwin, Jr., President and CEO at St. Vincent's Special Needs Services states that “we are pleased to have Dr. Rausch join our team of specialists and are excited to be able to offer a unique learning experience where children with autism will be encouraged to develop skills that will help them to become as independent as possible.”  Services will be provided at the Feroleto Children's Development Center in Trumbull in a space specifically designed to meet the unique needs of students at all levels on the autism spectrum.

Dr. Rausch has been working in the field of autism and behavior analysis for over 25 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization. She received her early training in behavior analysis at Rutger's University Douglas Developmental Disability Center. In her early years, she worked as a behavior specialist for children with autism at the Eden Institute in Princeton, NJ and for the San Diego Center for Children's School for Autism. Dr. Rausch's extensive career in the field of applied behavior analysis also includes spear heading the opening of several school-based programs serving individuals with autism in Hawaii and the San Diego school districts. Her love of empirically-driven behavioral interventions led her back to the research domain where she spent several years as a research scientist at Laura Schreibman's Autism Research Laboratory at the University of California examining behaviorally-based language training procedures, specifically Pivotal Response Training (PRT) and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). She has presented at many local, state, and national conferences in the field of behavior analysis and autism.

The addition of Dr. Rausch allows the organization to expand its current services which will help fulfill a growing need for families that are seeking specialized school services for their children with autism. For additional information, please contact Karen King, Assistant Principal, at 203-375-6400 or visit our website at www.stvincentsspecialneeds.org.

Since 1955 St. Vincent's Special Needs Services has been a trusted provider of specialized lifelong education, therapeutic programs, daytime recreational and work services programs, and residential services for children and adults with severe multiple developmental disabilities and special health care needs. Each year, more than 400 children, adults and their families attend St. Vincent's Special Needs Services programs and receive services.